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“My favorite active family vacation ever”

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Corky Carroll's Surf School
Certificate of Excellence
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“My favorite active family vacation ever”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2013

I stayed at Corky Carroll's with my family and my friend and his girlfriend met us there. I was not sure what to expect or if it would be right for my family, however, I cannot say enough. My friend Doug did a great job though.

Room Tip: I stayed at Corky Carroll's with my family and my friend and his girlfriend met us there. I was...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Shevy A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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82 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2013

I stayed at Corky Carroll’s for a week in March 2013 with my girlfriend, as well as with a buddy and his wife and kids (8, 5 and 4) – and I can’t say enough about the staff and the experience as a whole.

The family that owns/runs the camp (Rick, Collin, Kelsey) takes care of everything - from transport, to food, to additional activities, to laundry, whatever. If you can get to San Jose in board shorts and sandals you’ll be all set, because they take care of the rest. Three delicious wholesome meals (and all the beer you want) per day are served family style, and you eat with the family and instructors. It feels like a small family run operation because it is, and the sense of camaraderie with the instructors and other visitors is one of the best parts of Corky Carroll’s.

The surfing instruction is 1-on-1 and all about progressing at your own speed/comfort level. Other camp visitors we met had been to Corky’s many times and were avid surfers, while none of us had really surfed before. I was able to get out and ride some 5-6 footers by day three and my friend’s 8 year old daughter went from being afraid of 4 foot water to getting out in the waves and riding whitewater on her board… so the instructors (we had Collin, Tanallo and Drew…they were great) can tailor the lesson to whatever level you’re at.

The Corky’s location is a couple hundred yards from the beach, Playa Guiones; a 3-4 minute walk. The beach itself had consistent surf for us for 5 days, and choppy surf for the last two days that kept us all closer to shore in the whitewater. The weather was perfect at all times; high 80’s, no clouds in site, water mid 70’s, beautiful sunsets. The bungalows/rooms are huge (~300 sq ft?), can easily accommodate an entire family, and have their own bathrooms with plenty of towels. There is no AC, and you get some ants and mosquitoes, but ceiling fans make the room pleasant enough to sleep in. I wouldn’t call it luxurious; just simple, clean and comfortable.

The camp is really about surfing - with morning and afternoon sessions (between meals) taking up most of the day and tire you out (in a good way) – but there are extracurriculars available too. We walked to a local beach bar with the instructors one night. One afternoon my buddy took his kids on an ATV ride through the countryside and did some snorkeling in a cove. One day we had a masseuse come in and give us all massages. Corky’s also has a pool that’s big enough for kids to play in.

I think regardless of your prior surfing experience, whether you’re traveling solo or in a big family/group, if you’re looking to do a lot of surfing in a low-stress environment with good instructors and accommodating hosts, you really can’t go wrong here.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank dougs562
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2013

I brought my teenage son to this retreat hoping we could both be introduced to surfing. We were more than just introduced! The instructors were so amazingly skilled at teaching, my son was riding a 7-8 foot wave by the fourth day!
The food was amazing. The accommodations were beautiful. The staff were incredibly welcoming.
On the second day my son developed an ear infection from being in the water too much (we didn't think of bringing Swimmers Ear). The moment his ear began to feel sore, the owner stepped in to help. He set up a doctors appointment for the next morning, had a driver bring us to the appointment and the pharmacy! My son was back in the water that afternoon.
It was an incredibly comfortable, accepting, and relaxing atmosphere. I now see why everyone says it is like family when you are there. I can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Besby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2013

This is my third girl's trip to Nosara and Corky Carroll's Surf School and it has been amazing every year. The staff is awesome with little to none turn over each year. When I come back I feel like I'm coming home to family. The surf instruction is exceptional. They are all very patient and know when it's time for you to move onto bigger waves and when you need to stay put. The property is paradise. The rooms are immaculate with daily service and the mid week laundry service is a bonus! The food is healthy, plentiful and excellent. The surf break is clean and warm with varying size waves for every level. The town is safe, clean and has a great night life. I plan on coming every year to this property. Thanks again for such a great trip. C u in 2014!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Stephanie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 February 2013

If you are looking for a one of a kind adventure, you have to check this surf school out!! Learning to surf is definitely the focus but never felt pressured and always felt like family. Instructors, Rick, Collin, Tanillo, Drew, and Callan were fantastic, very patient and knowledgeable. Accommodations and food were amazing!!! Kelsey handles all of the details and preparations, planning was a breeze. free wi-fi was an unexpected bonus.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tracy d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maryland, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 January 2013

If you're expecting a posh resort with white table cloths, little interaction with other guests, and watching TV in your room, then this is the wrong place for you. If you want to have access to great waves, surfboards and instruction, combined with a beautiful facility, great food, and a welcoming atmosphere, then this should be your first choice. This was my second trip, and my brother and I probably spent about six hours a day in the water. The rest of the time is spent enjoying the wonderful food and beer with the company of the other guests and the instructors. If you're a beginner this is a supportive, nonjudgmental atmosphere that will help you get started correctly. If you're a surfer, then know that this spot gets very consistent waves and there's a full quiver of surfboards you can choose from. I hope that's a enough to convince you. All the best to Collin, Rick, Tanallo, Callen, Drew, Daniel, and the rest of the team. James T.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank James T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kula, Maui
Level Contributor
34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 December 2012

It is amazing what one family, Rick, Kelsey, Collin and Keith, and their loyal employees have developed in the wilds of Costa Rica. I say wilds as compared to the mega-resorts many miles to the North and South. The roads are well improved gravel and there is a mall ½ mile away with a bank and all the other stores one might expect in a neighborhood mall, (no Sak’s or Tiffany’s). The “less treaded path” is a short distance with local wild life in abundance, and Howler monkeys and iguanas are known to frequent the property. The other “Wild Life” is a short walk to the surf bars in the area. Not to downplay the copious amounts of very good food available on site, there are several excellent restaurants a short cab ride away.

Of course, transportation to and from either major airport is available through the school, but renting a car and driving in Coast Rica provides no major problems. The drive to and from Liberia has less traffic, but the drive to San Jose provides more variation in scenery if one can deal with the traffic encountered as one approaches the capital. If one chooses the San Jose route, a side trip to Aranal is well worth the time and effort.

The accommodations are spacious, and the maid and laundry service is outstanding. Be prepared for humidity even in the “dry” season. Hanging of garments between uses is mandatory ;)

The school is working on a reliable wireless network, and there is currently an Internet café with excellent connectivity a short walk down the road.

Which is all fine, BUT this is a SURF SCHOOL.
Being from Maui, I am somewhat familiar with surf schools. Most on Maui are only a way of generating income. At Corky Carroll’s, for the Walker’s, Rick and Collin in Costa Rica, (Kelsey and Keith are at their operation in Huntington Beach), and their staff, the school is a way of sharing their dedication to the sport. I have seen them tirelessly spend time with the novice, and then share the intricate points of the sport with other professionals. This is not a part time pursuit for them; it is their life. By the way; the pictures don’t do justice to the waves.

For the non-surfing visitor, from sunrise to sunset, there is plenty keep one occupied between meals. From endless, apparently safe, walking opportunities, to a local Yoga institute, to an on-site collection of varied reading material, to sunsets that rival Maui’s, one is never want for activity. For couch potatoes, there is satellite TV.

Room Tip: An end room offers better cross ventilation
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank ReadyonMaui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Corky Carroll's Surf School

Property: Corky Carroll's Surf School
Address: Playa Guiones, Nosara 53211, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Nosara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 25 Speciality Lodging in Nosara
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are the original surfing vacation of the Nosara area. A family owned and operated establishment. We provide comfortable hospitality in our private property, eating meals with other guests creating an interactive environment. All the surf lessons you need are included, cooks are on-site ready for you, beer and juice are included and your transportation once arriving Costa Rica. A family who surfs together sticks together. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Corky Carroll's Surf School Costa Rica/Nosara

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